Of all the places
on the planet where the popularity of Japanese Food especially Sushi would seem
to be a strict no-no, Delhi region would once have been at the forefront.
Indeed, in the era before sushi, the average Delhiite was never keen on
seafood, even the cooked variety. Which is why it is surprising that sushi
makes its way on to so many menus. Today, sushi and sashimi are ubiquitous. Not
confined to five star dining any more, even caterers have begun to get into the
So, is the
Delhi/Mumbai love affair with sushi part of a global trend? It probably is.
Japanese food, with its accent on superior ingredients cooked minimally so as
to retain freshness, has been at the forefront of international culinary
lettuce leaves, cucumber and nori sheets (made of sea weed) counterpointed
against rice can look poetically beautiful, as long as the hand that has
created them is neat.
When it comes to food, the Japanese are among
the most enthusiastic and passionate of any races. Careful preparation and
meticulous presentation are crucial elements of Japanese cuisine. Food is an
art form and even the simplest dishes are often prepared by chefs that have
trained for many years.
Today's generation is independent and wants to
experiment with its food. People nowadays have become more enterprising and
independent in their tastes. It’s a similar scenario in most metropolitan
cities like Mumbai, Delhi/Ncr, Bengaluru etc. Where youngsters are leading the change - some
out of curiosity, others just to be fashionable.
Japanese cuisine is proving to be a hit among
culinary enthusiasts in India, especially the young and the health conscious -
even though many of the ingredients have to be imported, making it an expensive
proposition. It's light, uses fresh ingredients and is different.
|Kitchens of Asia - KOA |
And the love for this cuisine it lead us , TWCI –
The Writers Collective of India to a newly opened restaurant KOA- Kitchens of
Asia at Cyber Hub, Gurgaon .
It was a chilly evening, with cold wind
blowing bringing temperature down. But our enthusiasm and passion got us all
gathered at KOA for a lovely dinner. The interiors of the place have been done
very nicely, imparting an oriental charm to the whole place. The artifacts and
paintings of Buddha imported from Japan, the use of red colour on the walls and
upholstery as well as napkins brings in the warmth to the whole ambiance. It’s
an 80 odd pax. restaurant on the First floor of Cyber Hub, the most sought
after location in Delhi/ NCR for restaurants and dining nowadays..............
As we all reached the place, we started
chatting and discussing about the ambiance and type of food we will be served.
It’s a Japanese restaurant with open kitchen and grills. The Robatayaki grill and Teppenyaki cooking are done live. They also have a private dining area which
boasts of a live teppenyaki which is yet to be operational.
Now, the agenda of our meet, the food. We
started with Miso soup (Rs.295 /395) – both veg. as well as sea food which had mitsuba,
tofu and wakame seaweed. It was very different, it’s obvious but yes it was
Then we got robata chicken (grilled on robatayaki grill) and vegetables like asparagus (Rs.595) with yulu
hollaindaise and soy, corn on cob ( Rs.375).I loved the asparagus , the
flavors of soy and other sauces grilled on charcoal were heavenly. The Chicken
Breast (Rs.475) was also done on the grill and was very good and yummy served
with grilled vegetables.
Then we were served the
Potato Suteki (Rs.475), a panko (bread
crumbs) fried potato steak with tankashu sauce. It was like a whole potato
stuffed with cheesy mix and fried coated in bread crumbs (panko ). It was very
subtle in taste but filling……... I was waiting for the Shir’Ae which is a crumble of
silken tofu, spinach goma dressing. Very beautiful and very tasty. It’s such a
dish which you won’t even like to break apart as it’s so beautifully presented
and plated; it’s almost a work of art.
Now one of the most popular
dishes from Japan, the tempura or we can say Japanese pakode…….. deep fried
veggies or sea food in a tempura batter…….I did not try the tempura
but my friends really enjoyed the Prawn tempura (Rs.675) a lot……
|Potato Suteki, Shir'Ae, Lamb Rack (clockwise)|
|Shir'Ae and Asparagus Robata Grilled|
And now the most awaited
and most known to dish from Japanese cuisine, The Sushi…….. We were served with various
Sushi preparations or as they call them, Rolls…….like Come Undone -spicy tuna (Rs.675) asparagus (Rs.545), spicy salmon (Rs.575)…...Sushi
was done two ways both nigiri* and maki* rolls were served……Rolls of rice , yes
rice plays an important part in sushi. Most restaurants make do with koshihikari
rice; Wasabi has koshibuki in addition. The former is for nigiri sushi and the
latter, being a premium quality, is for some maki rolls……..
- Nigiri-zushi** involves a
slice of raw fish atop an oblong, compacted mound of rice. Nigiri
is generally served in pairs, with a little dab of wasabi between
the rice and the fish, and sometimes with a small strip of nori
(seaweed) belting it all together.
- Maki-zushi* involves strips
of fish and vegetable laid in rice and rolled inside nori to make a
long cylinder. It's then typically served cut into 6-8 pieces.
|Sushi - Tuna and Salmon|
All very nicely done and presented, with use
of vibrant colours and luscious textures. We loved all of them; I even ordered
an extra dish of classic sushi maki rolls……..
Then came the Teppenyaki
dishes like chicken
teriyaki teppan grilled chicken Japanese soya glazed with simagi mushroom &
wakame (Rs.675). The slow cooked red snapper (Rs.695) , assorted vegetables, spicy with
balsamic reduction sauce was one of the highlights of the day……And the most
authentic the Black Cod Miso (Rs.1895) …… This was the one which I loved much;
it was sweet and flavorful very unusual and very good but expensive too…….
|Fish Skewers, Chicken grilled, Snapper grilled|
|Flat Rice noodles Grilled with Teriyaki Chicken|
will be surprised to know that, the Japanese also eat curries like Thai and Chinese.
We had the KOA Oriental Curry Veg (Rs.525) which was awesome and tasted much
like Indian and Thai style curry. The use of cream instead of coconut and herbs
made it really interesting and was fun having with steamed sticky rice……..
most sought after fish, the Salmon was the next to be served. It was again
prepared on the robata grill served with grilled veggies – Salmon Steak with
lovely mix of sauces and honey ,very healthy and very fresh. I can have it every
day………..Awesome flavors and firm texture.
of the best dishes which I savored to the last bit was the Australian rack of
Lamb (Rs.1295) , finely grilled in mix of savory and sweet red wine sauce in
miso glaze on a bed of grilled veggies like broccoli, zucchini and mushrooms.
Thoroughly loved it…….
|Sashimi Platter |
most exotic thing to be served was the Sashimi platter – 12 pcs (Rs.1675)….It
had sashimi cuts of crab, octopus, tuna, scallops and prawns. Oh my God, it was
so beautiful and had all the beautiful colors one could ever imagine. But to my
dismay, as I am allergic to shell fish, could not try anything except the
octopus. It was the freshest piece of sea food; one could ever have in a place
like Gurgaon…..so far from the coast……….
|Blueberry Cheesecake and Choco Brownie|
desserts which I had were awesome………I had the blueberry cheesecake (Rs.450) and
the Chocolate brownie with ice cream and chocolate sauce (Rs.400). It was one
of the best cheesecakes I had lately……..
the ingredients were so fresh and delicate, that I can admit the KOA people are
very carefully sourcing them. One has to be very careful in sourcing products
especially sea food and exotic veggies…….As Japanese cuisine is all about
freshness and meticulous presentation……..This cuisine runs on many cultural
principles like the “Power of Five”.
five “5” is considered important in Japanese culture, and this extends to its
food traditions as well. They form the basis of concepts that have been in
place for centuries. I believe that following the guidelines of the “Power of
Five” can do more for improving your health and cooking skills than following
recipes or diets.
be enjoyed with all five of the senses: taste and smell are obvious, but sight
figures predominately in Japanese cuisine. In fact, it can be considered just
as important as taste.
also important, not only for the texture of the food itself, which should be
varied, but also for tableware, as it is customary to hold vessels and utensils
in one’s hands.
while being a bit more esoteric, also figures into the experience. However, to
properly appreciate the experience and give due respect to the chef, a quiet
atmosphere is appreciated, so that you really appreciate the marvelous
Taste - Salty,
sweet, sour, bitter, and… umami. Recently, much fuss has been made over umami, touted as the
fifth taste. It can be accomplished by adding a little butter to a soy sauce
based dish, or sprinkling a little parmesan cheese into a miso sauce. Umami is
imparted by amino acids called glutamates.
Five Ways - The preparation of the dishes is
also important, and here, there are also five methods: raw, simmered, fried,
steamed and roasted or grilled.
the restaurateurs unanimously agree that Japanese cuisine will not be able to
attain the same level of popularity in India in the near future as its Chinese
or even Italian counterparts, due to its ingredients. Japanese food has the
majority of ingredients flown in from Japan, so the food is bound to be
expensive. Food joints selling sushi won't be cropping up in nooks and crannies
in the foreseeable future……….Which gives an edge to the fine dine places for
many more years to come…………Like Kitchens of Asia - KOA and other restaurants serving Japanese cuisine………
will admit that YES, the food we had at KOA was very much in tune with the
thoughts and cultural principles we have read so far. All my senses were
working to their best while enjoying such a beautiful symphony of food.
a very nice and chic place to take your date or even your friends/family along for an up market experience with loads
of healthy and fashionable dishes……..This place and it’s food is surely bound
to fly your senses to the seventh sky or heaven I am sure………..
are on a scale of 5*****
being the lowest and 5 the highest
- 4.0 / 5.0
Service - 4.0 / 5.0
Taste - 4.0 / 5.0
Pricing - 4.0 / 5.0
- 4.0 / 5.0
for Two - Rs. 2000 /-
- KITCHENS OF ASIA,
DLF Cyber Hub,
Cyber City, Gurgaon.
: 0124 4909361